If you're wondering, “can a cracked engine block be repaired?” The short answer is it depends. If the cracks are minor, you can rely on commercial sealants, engine welding, cold welding patches, or cold metal stitching. However, if the cracks are major, your only option would be to install a new engine or rebuild the existing one.
The engine is one of the most critical components in any vehicle, and when the engine block gets cracked, it leads to severe damages that make the vehicle not suitable to drive.
Although many regulations protect used car shoppers from purchasing vehicles that have significant problems like block engine cracks, many dealerships still sell vehicles with such problems, unfortunately.
This article provides you with an overview of the engine block and how a cracked engine block impacts your vehicle. It also helps you understand whether you can fix a cracked engine block or not. Finally, it provides you with a rough estimate of the expected cracked engine blocks repairs.
What is the engine block?
Before we dive into the details about “can a cracked engine block be repaired?” It is important that we first understand what it means when we refer to the term engine block. The engine block covers all the area that contains the engine cylinders and other important components covering the entire motor.
Within your vehicle’s engine block, there are some internal moving components like the Pistons that allow the movement of the crankshaft. Then it leads to moving the wheels, therefore, getting your vehicle going.
If there is any problem with one of the components that make up the engine block, it can immediately lead to cracks within the engine block. As the cracks build-up, it leads to significant problems impacting the vehicle's overall performance and leading to a completely damaged car.
Can a cracked engine block be repaired?
Yes, cracked engine blocks are repairable. However, repairs are not permanent. In other words, most automotive experts think that even though you can get away with a cracked engine block for a short time, you will end up needing to install either a new or rebuilt engine.
According to experts at autos101.com, “Once there is a crack in the engine block, the concern is its ongoing structural stability once its integrity has been compromised.”
Did you know that installing a new or rebuilt engine is considered much cheaper than fixing a cracked engine block?!
What are the common symptoms of a cracked engine block?
Since the engine block is a critical component and a core element in any vehicle, you must keep an eye for any symptom of a bad or cracked engine block. Once you notice these symptoms, you can immediately reach out to your mechanic and have him fix the problem.
Keep in mind that most automotive experts indicate that whenever you detect any automobile problem early, you have a higher chance to get the vehicle fixed than someone else who realized the problem after it got complicated and damaged the components. This is because many early detected car problems can be fixed without needing to install new components.
With that, let's take a closer look at some of the common symptoms of a cracked engine block:
- Significant reduction in the vehicle's overall performance due to problems with engine compression
- Smoke coming out of the engine
- Increase in the engine's temperature due to anti-freeze leaks
- Huge deterioration in the vehicles lubrication system
- Frozen radiators due to frozen coolant
- Reduction in the coolant level
- Excessive smoke coming out of the tailpipe
Symptoms of a cracked engine block are not something you can ignore because they're extremely visible and might cause people to freak out. Therefore, we always advise that you stay calm and reach your mechanic to take care of the problem rather than stressing yourself out.
Can you save a cracked engine block?
As we can indicate earlier, you might be able to save your cracked engine block, but whatever approaches you can apply are not permanent; you must install or rebuild the engine to prevent further damages that could cost you thousands of dollars down the road.
How to fix a cracked engine block?
If you would like to go ahead and try some of the common methods to fix a cracked engine block, here are what automotive experts recommend but keep in mind that this should not be your final and permanent solution because it doesn't guarantee not seeing problems soon.
1. Purchase a commercial sealant
If you realize that your engine block crack is not very big and it's just a small or minor crack, you might rely on some of the common commercial sealants that help seal the internal components of the cooling system.
All you must do is pour the sealant with your coolant, and once the vehicle runs, the product will find the cracks and go through these cracks to close them out. There are many sealants in the markets that you might want to try, but each sealant has its capabilities and is suitable for certain vehicles. Therefore, we recommend that you go through their main pros and cons before making a final decision to purchase a commercial sealant.
2. Try engine welding
Many mechanics rely on what's known as engine welding to fix the cracks. However, most of their practices rely on specific tools that are not available at every independent shop. Therefore, engine welding is not something you can do by yourself at home, and you need to make sure that you're selecting the right licensed mechanic who has the correct tool.
According to experts, engine holding also helps add additional benefits to your vehicle. “Welding also makes the engine block more susceptible to deformation, which can undermine the structural integrity and safety of the engine block.”
3. Test the cold-welding patches
There is a different type of welding that you might want to try, which is referred to as the cold-welding patches. In this type of welding, mechanics rely on specific glue and real patches to close the cracks in your engine block.
Easton or experience, we recommend that these cold-welding patches should not be considered a final solution because they're just short-term, which means that the engine might get cracked down the road, and even the cracks might get extremely bigger.
4. Stitch the engine using cold metal stitching
Finally, there is a final method that you might want to try to fix engine block cracks which are referred to as cold metal stitching. In this process, mechanics use different pieces of metal and rely on fabric to stitch them together.
According to customer reviews, cold metal stitching is not the best approach to fix the cracked engine because it might not work properly at extreme engine temperatures.
As you might notice, every method to fix the engine block has many drawbacks, which means that you'd better go with either installing a new engine or rebuilding your existing engine if it's repairable.
Can you drive with a cracked engine block?
It is not recommended to drive your car with a cracked engine block. When the engine block gets cracked, you'll start noticing some of the symptoms that we indicated before, which are very visible, making the driving experience extremely challenging.
In some scenarios, and depending on the severity of the crack, you might not be safe driving this car, and you might cause safety issues to yourself and the people around you. Therefore, whenever you notice any symptoms indicating a cracked engine block, you must pull over and turn off the engine immediately. Then, consult your mechanic about whether you can continue driving the vehicle to the nearest repair shop or you should get it towed.
How much does it cost to fix a cracked engine block?
Unfortunately, cracked engine blocks repairs are very expensive as compared to other common vehicle repairs. It might cost you up to $1500, depending on your vehicle's type and the crack condition.
Keep in mind that fixing the engine crack is not something you can do at home, which means that you can't save on labor costs; otherwise, you'll introduce major damage to the engine. In some scenarios, fixing a cracked engine block might cost you much more than installing a new engine, depending on how big the crack is and how many skills you're looking for in terms of mechanical background.
Therefore, if you got into a situation where you're dealing with a cracked engine block, you might want to consider selling the vehicle or installing a new engine if repair costs do not exceed 75% or more of your vehicle's value.
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What causes a cracked engine block?
Since a cracked engine block is an extremely difficult situation, you must learn what causes these cracks. This way, you can avoid these causes as much as possible to prevent paying thousands of dollars or ruining your vehicle's engine.
In short, autos101.com summarized the most common causes for a cracked engine block in this paragraph “The most common reason for an engine block cracking is engine overheating. High heat causes the metal to expand, which can cause failure points in the metal.”
Let's take a closer look at some of the mentioned causes:
1. Increase in temperature
Every engine needs to perform within a specific range of temperature. If the engine temperature exceeds the maximum threshold of the range, there's a very high chance that the engine block might get cracked.
Some of the many common causes for her engine overheating are problems with the coolant level, troubles with the fuel pump, issues with the thermostat, etc.
2. Drop in temperature
Although the increasing temperature is extremely dangerous for your engine, dealing with very cold temperatures is also bad. There are many instances where people complained about cracked engine blocks due to freezing temperatures. This happens when the coolant doesn't have enough anti-freeze, and it freezes inside the coolant lines causing the engine block to break.
3. Problems in the manufacturing
Finally, if the problem with a cracked engine block doesn't have to do with temperature, the issue might be related to how the engine was manufactured. Keep in mind that this cause is not very common, but it might happen. When a problem with a cracked engine block is related to how a vehicle was manufactured, most manufacturers will release a recall or some sort of press documents to grab the customers' attention to resolve the issue.
Will cold water crack engine block?
In some scenarios, yes. According to automotive experts’ recommendations, if you pour cold water on an extremely hot engine, there is a very high chance that the engine block will crack. This is because metal might shrink sharply and get cracked immediately after exposure to cold water.
Your engine block is a critical component responsible for containing any elements involved in the combustion process. With a cracked engine block, the engine's performance gets interrupted, which means that your vehicle might not be drivable.
Therefore, when your engine block gets cracked, you must resolve the problem by either trying one of the mentioned methods to seal the cracks or installing a new engine.
As we indicated earlier, if you realize that repair costs are close to your vehicle's value, it might not be worth the investment here. Therefore, we advise you to reach out to cash cars buyers and learn how much you can make out of your vehicle!
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